Fall Album Preview 

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Taylor Swift
Speak Now
It's been an eventful couple years for Taylor Swift since the release of her immensely likable breakthrough, Fearless. There was the messy, public breakup with that one Jonas Brother. There was the Kanye thing. There was the onslaught of award show success. An onslaught of surprised reactions to that success. Constant aw-shucks humility that was at first endearing, but later completely irritating and, worse, sort of fake. On Speak Now, we'll see if it had any effect on her—positive or negative. (10/26 via Big Machine)

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Sufjan Stevens
The Age of Adz
For Sufjan's first new full-length in five years, he's reportedly ditched the banjos ukuleles that once gave his cutesy indie-pop its unmistakable identity in favor of, yep... electronic stuff. It will be interesting to see if his playful sensibilities will cut through the inherently colder sound. Here's hoping. (10/12 via Asthmatic Kitty)


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The Concretes

In 2003, the Concretes put out an album of charming, lace-collar indie-pop. Music critics drooled, "Say Something New" was on a Target commercial, then lead singer Victoria Bergsman left the band, and their follow-ups went largely unnoticed here in the states. After three years without releasing a single song, the Swedish outfit set out to make a self-described "disco album"—eight band members, less guitar, more keyboards, digging basslines. We're listening now to a new track now, and that's some damn fine danceable pop. (11/2 via Friendly Fire)

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Belle & Sebastian
Belle & Sebastian Write About Love
It's been three years since the release of the very good and very underrated The Life Pursuit, a time during which frontman Stuart Murdoch focused, at least briefly, on his somewhat disappointing God Save the Girl Project, so it'll be interesting to see if they can recapture the stylish, smart, adorable and ridiculously catchy glory of their previous work together. Even just judging from the title, we're thinking they won't have too much trouble. (10/12 via Matador)

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Kanye West
Dark Twisted Fantasy
Arcade Fire, M.I.A., Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem... you thought there was a lot of hype surrounding those records earlier this year? Yeah, well, that was nothing compared to what's gonna happen when Kanye eventually gets around to releasing Dark Twisted Fantasy (or whatever he's calling it these days), his much, much, much anticipated follow-up to the confounding 808s & Heartbreaks—his first since the Taylor Swift incident, his first since joining Twitter, and his first since embarking on a strange promotional tour centered around different social networking sites. One gets the feeling he's going to rewrite the rule book here, and one gets the feeling an awful lot of people are going to have an awful lot to say about it. One also gets the feeling this record is going to sell an awful lot of copies, regardless of what those people say. (Def Jam Records, Release Date TBD)


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